Revealing the results of an extensive investigation into the food waste up and down its supply chain, the supermarket has admitted that multi-buy promotions on bagged salads have to go.

‘Display until’ dates are also being removed from fresh fruit and vegetables, smaller cases are being used in store and 600 bakeries in larger stores have been rearranged to reduce the amount of bread on display, leading to “better stock control and less waste”.

Tesco is also targeting the 28,500 tonnes of food waste created at its stores and distribution centres with a new “state-of-the-art” temperature control system to ensure bananas last longer in transportation. It is also working with suppliers to try and cut waste at “all stages of the journey from farm to fork”, said commercial director of group food Matt Simister.

“We’ve all got a responsibility to tackle food waste and there is no quick-fix single solution. Families are wasting an estimated £700 a year and we want to help them keep that money in their pockets,” he explained.

Campaigners have welcomed the extensive food waste audit, but said retailers needed to do much more to cut food waste in their own supply chains. Research published by WRAP earlier this month revealed that the grocery retail sector supply chain generates £6.5Mt of food and packaging waste.

“The figures published by Tesco today suggest that annual food waste in its stores is over four times more than the total amount of surplus food donated last year to redistribution charities in Britain. Evidently, retailers like Tesco can do much more to reduce food waste in their own operations,” said Tristram Stuart, founder of the Feeding the 5000 campaign.

Six months ago Tesco announced that tackling food waste would be one of its three “Big Ambitions” – three areas where the company has identified that it can use “its scale for good”. The analysis on its food supply chain waste is the first part of this.
Over the last six months, Tesco has together food waste footprints from farms to household bins, identifying the largest sources of waste. A quarter of grapes are wasted between the vine and the fruit bowl. The majority of that waste happens in the home, so Tesco is working with producers to trial new varieties of grapes that have a longer life.

When it comes to bagged salad the figures are even higher, with 68% wasted, 35% of it in the home. The end of multi-buy deals on large bags of salads is expected to cut this waste, with more mix and match promotions on smaller bags instead.

This is not he first time Tesco has attempted to change its promotions to cut waste. In 2010, it trialled a ‘buy one get one free later’ scheme for salad, lettuce and some fruits. However, the scheme was never rolled out nationally.

In a speech at the Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen today, Tesco boss Philip Clarke, will highlight more the findings and say: “We’re using this insight to drive innovation. We’re tackling this [food waste] by focusing on 25 of the most frequently purchased food items bought by our customers. We know small reductions in food waste will rapidly make a big difference in reducing overall waste levels. We sit at the heart of the value chain and this gives us a crucial vantage point and a shared responsibility to act far beyond the doors of our stores.”

edie staff

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